Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com
A war of words has emerged between Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba and FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza over President Lungu’s statement on the importation of electricity whilst in South Africa.
Mwanza had torn down the Head of State’s statement labelling it tragic while Mwamba has come out to set the record straight on the matter.
Below is the gentlemen’s take on the matter:
The statement by President Edgar Lungu that we should just be importing electricity from South Africa instead of building our own power plants is not only shocking but tragic, considering that it has come from the head of state. Electricity is a strategic commodity for national development and national security and all serious governments are investing billions of dollars in power generatio, transmission and distribution to ensure sustainable development and national security.
We are in an economic crisis right now partly as a result of power deficits. Thousands of jobs have been lost and small and medium scale businesses continue to close or prune their workforce as a result of the continued loadshedding; we are losing almost 20 million dollars every month on electricity imports and to hear the President say it’s better for us to be depending on South Africa for our energy source is flabbergasting. Maybe there is something that is motivating about import deals involving electricity that the public is not aware of. But with such kind of thinking on the part of those that have been tasked with the responsibility of providing leadership to our country, Zambia is doomed.
We have potential to generate, transmit and distribute enough electricity to satisfy the local needs as well as exporting to other countries, South Africa inclusive but because of lack of vision and failure to plan on the part of our leaders, almost 80% of Zambians live in the dark with no power to unlock their regional and individual potential for production, growth and sustainable development.
Now we understand why the Eurobond money which was aimed at improving the generating capacity of Zesco can not be accounted for.
FDD Antonio Mwanza your views are misplaced.
Let me explain.
During his state visit to South Africa, President Edgar Lungu helped negotiate power upto 300MW to help end the current loadshedding.
In relation to regional energy security: President Lungu visited the 4800MW Khusile Power Project in Mpumalanga, in Emalatheni district.
During his visit and talks with Eskom the state owned power company in South Africa, President Lungu informed the meeting that the Region was promoting regional energy security.
He stated that this was the reason that industrial transmission lines were being erected from Nairobi- to Maputo- From Johannesburg to Livingstone, from Lilongwe- to mbala, from Ndola to Lubumbashi etc to help take power from places of excess to places of deficit.
He said the current regional power-pool was limited by few or overloaded transmission lines.
He said that Zambia had lined up power projects and called for regional harmonization of such projects to ensure that resources are saved.
Zambia has hydro, renewable and nuclear power projects planned or are underway.
And because of many factors, places of power excess can fall and become places of deficit but the idea is to have adequate powerlines that can help supply to areas of need.